Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 26th. CFA Wednesday. 26th. CFA
Wednesday. 26th.

Fine day. I went to town and should have enjoyed my ride exceedingly if I had not felt a pain in my head, arising from indigestion and imprudence yesterday. This ought to operate upon me more in the way of warning than it does. My general health and my Constitution are on the whole so good that I ought to be ashamed to trifle with them merely in gratification of a momentary appetite. But so it is with man. In early life he wastes himself because he knows no better. In more advanced years, because he cannot resist temptation. Whether this is or is not so, I had a bad head ache and suffered accordingly.


My time in town was taken up in commissions and in attending a sale of Coal where I finally effected a purchase of my winter’s Stock. Then returned directly to Quincy. Dr. Waterhouse and Mr. Ware came today. I regretted my indisposition the more as it entirely disabled me from enjoying their conversation. But as evening came on I recovered and passed a considerable part of it in reading Dr. Granville to the ladies.

Thursday. 27th. CFA Thursday. 27th. CFA
Thursday. 27th.

Having purchased my Coal, the next thing was to get it into my House and Office. For that purpose I rode to town, and was occupied about it nearly all the morning. Yet I did not succeed in more than one half the work, which will necessitate my going again tomorrow. I took advantage of the time on my hands to draw off my Quarterly Account, as far as I could previous to the termination of the month. Thus the time passed.

Returned to Quincy. Spent half an hour in correcting old Journals with my father, and we then rode over, My father, Mother, Wife and myself, to Dorchester to pay a visit to Gen. W. H. Sumner and his lady. He occupies a small but pretty rural place, but he was not at home and Mrs. S. was quite unwell so that we returned without entering the House. Our ride was on the whole a pleasant one. Evening quiet at home. I still feel uneasy about the teeth. Read more of Dr. Granville.

Friday. 28th. CFA Friday. 28th. CFA
Friday. 28th.

I was obliged to go into town again today for the purpose of overseeing the putting my Coal into the Cellar. And it took up more than two hours of the morning. I am afraid I have been deceived as to the quality of this article which may tend to make our Winter uncomfortable. But it is too late to go back. I shall purchase some of the best quality to mix with it. Returned to my Office, I passed an hour in looking over Accounts &ca., and then went back to Quincy.

After dinner, went on with Seneca whose Treatise de Beneficiis, I have at last almost waded through. I am not satisfied that I have read it with advantage to myself. Seneca is a Writer who must be somewhat dwelt upon. His thoughts must be analyzed, must be weighed with care so as to measure what is good in them from what is bad. In this way his works may be of service. I have done nothing of this.

Had also a conversation with my father the nature of which is not for this Journal. I took the opportunity however to express my opinions 370upon a subject which appears to me of momentous concern to his future comfort. Having done so once from a sense of duty which I felt incumbent upon me, I have nothing more to say upon the subject and will leave it to take care of itself.1 A quiet evening at home.


Perhaps the conversation was related to some conclusions and expectations stated in JQA’s next succeeding letter to JA2 (5 Oct., Adams Papers):

“I take it for granted that the business of the Mills has suffered greatly by the disability of Mr. Greenleaf following upon your own. These misfortunes crowding upon one another, have brought me to the conclusion that after the present Season that business must be given up. For the next year I shall if possible lease the Mills, and if that is impracticable, dismiss Speakman and the other workmen there and shut them up. For this I wish you to commence making preparation as early as possible. It is probable that the ensuing Winter is the last that I shall pass in Washington, and it will be my wish to dispose of all my property there as advantageously as I can.”

See also same to same, 19 Oct. (Adams Papers).

However, when the time came for the family’s departure for Washington, CFA, who had earlier felt that JQA’s political unpopularity in Massachusetts and in the Plymouth district would dictate his retirement from the House (LCA to JA2, 29 Aug., Adams Papers), had become convinced that “the President will probably remain in Congress as long as he has a mind, and I do not see but what General Jackson may have a lease equally long of the Presidency” (CFA to JA2, 8 Nov., Adams Papers).